The Entrance to Armstrong Park Illuminated


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This is the entrance to Armstrong Park illuminated by night. This photo was taken by paparutzi. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

Armstrong Park is named in honor of jazz trumpeter and singer Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, who was born in Back-o-Town New Orleans in 1901. He lived there until 1922, when he took his horn and joined the famous migration of Southern blacks to Northern cities like Chicago and New York.  He may have made his mark in the world away from New Orleans, but he never forgot his roots, and returned several times to his birthplace, most famously as the King of the Krewe of Zulu.

The park comprises 32 acres, and is located across Rampart Street from the Vieux Carré, the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It includes several sites:  Congo Square, the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts, and the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium.   The annual New Orleans Jazz Fest was celebrated at Armstrong Park from its  inception in 1970, but increasing crowds moved the Festival to its current home at the New Orleans Fairgrounds.

The farthest I have gone in the Park is Congo Square, which is right at the entrance to Armstrong Park.  I saw it before it was completely paved over with bricks, when it was simply a dirt ground, clear of weeds.  It was a place where sometimes 500-600 barefoot slaves danced and communed to the sound of drums and other makeshift instruments on Sundays.  Some felt voudou rituals were also being performed at Congo Square, but this is not so.  Voudou is more private and does not include strangers; if rituals were performed, they occurred at places like Bayou St. John.


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